"House," the FOX medical drama that stars Hugh Laurie as an anti-social, cynical and brilliant doctor, came to an end on Monday after eight seasons.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
Last week, following a dangerous hospital prank, Gregory House faced the notion of returning to jail for a probation violation. This would mean being away from his friend and one of the only people he has ever liked and trusted, Dr. James Wilson, played by Robert Sean Leonard. Wilson is dying of cancer and has five months to live.
The show paid tribute to the latter actor's breakthrough role, as House declared, when asked by Peter Jacobson's character, Dr. Chris Taub, why he was in a good mood despite the upcoming arrival of his parole officer: "Did you never see 'Dead Poets Society'? Carpe diem!"
On the series finale, for the doctor, it was out of the frying pan and into the fire. The episode opens with him lying on the floor of a burning building. He is visited by the ghosts of his past and discusses love, life and death.
The people include Kal Penn's deceased character, Dr. Lawrence Kutner, who left in season 5; former unrequited love interest Dr. Allison Cameron, played by Jennifer Morrison; his ex-girlfriend Stacy, played by Sela Ward; Wilson's deceased girlfriend and House's nemesis, Dr. Amber Volakis, played by Anne Dudek.
Notably missing was Dr. Lisa Cuddy, who was played by Lisa Edelstein. She left the show in 2011, after the seventh season. House was sent to jail and put on probation after crashing his car into her home on purpose.
Wilson and Omar Epps' character, Dr. Eric Foreman, who took over Cuddy's job as House's supervisor, witness the doctor through a window of the burning building. There is an explosion and he disappears. The next day, the building is charred and a covered body is wheeled out on a gurney.
House's past and present colleagues, including Olivia Wilde's character, Thirteen, and Amber Tamblyn's, Marta, as well as his psychiatrist, Dr. Darryl Nolan, played by Andre Braugher, attend the doctor's funeral, which features an urn that presumably contains his ashes. Even Karolina Wydra's character, Dominika, the Russian woman House married so she could obtain a green card, says she could not help but love the doctor.
Wilson also gives a passionate and honest speech to honor his friend.
"Gregory House saves lives," he said. "He was a healer and in the end, House was an ass. He mocked anyone ... he was a bitter jerk who liked making people miserable and he proved that by dying selfishly, numbed by narcotics."
Wilson then gets a text message on a phone, which reads: "SHUT UP YOU IDIOT."
The ailing doctor realizes it isn't his phone. He gets in his car, drove away and stop to see House sitting on steps outside.
"I got out of the back of the building," he tells Wilson, matter-of-factly. "Switched the medical records."
"You're destroying your entire life," Wilson replies. "You can't go back from this. You'll go to jail for years. You can never be a doctor again."
"I'm dead, Wilson," House says. "How do you want to spend your last five months?"
As the song "Keep Me In Your Heart For Awhile" by Warren Zevon is played, Jesse Spencer's character, Dr. Robert Chase, looks around House's former office, which is now his. Taub is all smiles at a restaurant with his exes and his baby daughters.
Cameron, wearing scrubs, looks fondly at a picture of her, her ex Chase, House and Foreman before joining a man pushing a carriage with a baby. Foreman puts down a medical record he was reading to try and fix a wobbly table House had mocked earlier and picks up something it was sitting on - an ID tag. It's House's.
Somewhere outdoors, the doctor hops on a motorcycle. Wilson sits on another one next to him.
"When the cancer starts getting really bad..." Wilson begins saying.
"Cancer's boring," House replies, putting on a helmet.
The two men, wearing leather, then drive off together as Luis Prima's cover of the song "Enjoy Yourself (It's Later than You Think)" is played.
Ratings: The "House" finale was watched by more than 8.7 million people and earned a rating of 2.9 among adults aged 18 to 49, winning its 9 p.m. time slot and marking the highest performance for the series since January.